In previous chapters we have looked at many of the foundations that were laid in the ancient scriptures of the Hebrews, known to Christians as the Old Testament. Jesus declared that the completed bible of His day was unbreakable. Paul His apostle said these writings were “breathed by God” and were profitable, having many things to teach us. (Matthew 5:17-18, John 10:35, 2 Timothy 3:16, Romans 15:4). When one trusts in Christ and receives the Holy Spirit, it is not too difficult to begin to see and understand how powerful these words can become to us. While to some they seem like dead letters on a page, to us they reveal the very heart and will of God for the world!
Scholars from the very first centuries have understood the connections between the old and new testaments. Many of them knew that Jesus actually came and fulfilled many of the promises of the old testament by dying for our sins and overcoming death for our victory. Hundreds of years ago, many of them also saw that God had further plans for His creation. Since then, for various reasons, Christian pastors and teachers have become focused more on the very important issue of personal forgiveness. Today however, more people are becoming concerned about the world around them, and wonder what God intends not only for His people, but also for this very planet that He created. They are finding that the new testament prophecies cannot be fully understood without the context from which they were written, and the backdrop of the old testament.
For as long as I can remember people have started at the last book of the bible, The Revelation, and have tried to predict what will come upon the world in the near future. This approach can stir up much excitement and interest. However, the entire bible has much to say about the future of humanity. Knowing more of the whole bible can give us a better understanding of what this one highly symbolical and figurative book is about. Our approach then is to slow down, and to patiently allow God’s great plan and purpose of the ages to unfold before our eyes! God’s method is “precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:” (Isa 28:10 KJV). We would do well to accept His methods!
If you agree with the content of our last chapter, and desire to fight off the gloom and despair that tries to defeat us, I encourage you to take the promises of the Old Testament seriously. It is in the opening verses of the bible that we learn about why we are here. God created the earth and everything in it. Then at last He created humans to rule over it and to care for it. Have you ever struggled with the fact that we have lost that dominion?
In a 1971 song by the rock band, The Doors, Jim Morrison expressed this sentiment:
Riders on the storm,
Riders on the storm,
Into this house we’re born,
Into this world we’re throne,
Like a dog without a bone,
An actor out on lone,
Riders on the storm.
Could it be that his concept of a helpless, meaningless existence led to the reckless lifestyle that led to his death at 27, shortly after recording this song?
Without a connection with our Creator our existence can seem meaningless. We can easily waste the short time we have seeking pleasure or possessions in an attempt to fill the void that can only be satisfied by Him. Even we as Christians can secumb to feelings of despair and hopelessness — if we give more of our attention to the ideas of unbelieving politicians and entertainers than to the living Word of God!
No, God created us and this universe for His glory, goodness and love. We are not prisoners of our own lusts and slaves to our own instincts. What was lost in the fall was restored to us in Christ! The writer to the Hebrews reminds us this with these words and with a quote from the 8th Psalm of King David:
Hebrews 2:5-12 NASB (Earth Subject to Man)
5 For He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking. 6 But one has testified somewhere, saying,
“WHAT IS MAN, THAT YOU REMEMBER HIM? OR THE SON OF MAN, THAT YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT HIM? 7 “YOU HAVE MADE HIM FOR A LITTLE WHILE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS;YOU HAVE CROWNED HIM WITH GLORY AND HONOR,AND HAVE APPOINTED HIM OVER THE WORKS OF YOUR HANDS; 8 YOU HAVE PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET.”
For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.
9 But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.
10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings. 11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren…”
Yes, Christ is the Second Adam, Who fully is the image of the invisible God. (1 Corinthians 15:47-49, Colossians 1:15, Hebrews 1:1-3). In Adam we all die, but IN CHRIST, we are all made alive! In Him we can be restored to our rightful place of dominion over the earth, to rule and reign with Him. (1 Corinthians 15:22, 2 Timothy 2:12, Revelation 20:6) First we must understand that the way up is down. That is, we must follow the example of Christ in His humility and servanthood. Only as He sanctifies, sets us apart unto His pure motives and character can we be trusted with this authority. (Philippians 2:1-13). We are not called to reign in oppression, but to reign in life and blessing! (Romans 5:17)
Certainly much of this is in the future, but we can see already in the Early Church, believers possessing power over demons and diseases. Knowing who we are and our purpose in Christ is the first step toward living the full and abundant life! Believe it!
It is time that we quit embracing our failures and begin to take hold of our victory in Christ! Lord I believe but help me overcome my unbelief! As you consider these promises, I sincerely hope that many of you begin to sense that you were created for more than mere survival, mere existence. You have not been thrown into this universe, you have a destiny to fulfill in Christ! We can barely comprehend that now, but He is calling us all forward, upward and onward into that destiny in Him!